History – CREDS

Central Region Eating Disorder Services (CREDS) began in January 2007, after the former provider (Eating Disorder Services) withdrew from operation in December 2006. In January 2007 a number of new staff were employed, representing a range of disciplines and skill-bases. The service now employs 23 staff, many on a part time basis.

History – EDS

Eating Disorder Services began in 1989 as the “Wellington Eating Disorder Support Group (Inc)”. It was set up by a group of women who had themselves recovered from eating disorders. These women formed the first Collective. They wanted to provide community based support for people with eating disorders.

Initially they ran self-help groups on a voluntary basis, from their own homes. Later the Collective rented premises in a central city area and employed the first part-time paid counsellor in 1991. As the Collective grew some of the new members had not themselves had an eating disorder. However only those who had were allowed to work with clients.

As they grew as an organisation they had more staff and Collective members who had not themselves experienced an eating disorder. They recognised that over time people may move from needing help to offering help, from being unwell to being well. They continued to value their self-help roots and welcomed staff who are able to draw on their own experiences of being unwell and recovering.

In the period from 1991 to 1996 the support group’s paid staff increased to two counsellors and two education workers. In 1996 the Collective tendered for and was awarded the contract to provide a government-funded specialist eating disorder service for the Central Region of New Zealand. This development with all the changes it has brought has been exciting and challenging. The service then grew to employ over 19 staff, including a Dietitian, a Psychiatrist and a team of therapists. 24 hour nursing cover was offered in the residential service, and community support workers were included in the staff mix also.

When they took on the contract they were determined to continue to support everyone suffering from eating disorders, which is why they established the General Service. At this stage the name was changed to Wellington Eating Disorder Services (WEDS) and in 1997 they moved to larger premises and opened the residential service.

In their earlier days the Collective had a ‘flat’ structure; all staff were part of the decision making body. As they grew bigger this became impossible. Not only would it have been cumbersome, but not all new staff wanted to be so involved in the organisation where they worked. The Collective continued to makes decisions collectively, and did the work in a volunteer capacity.

In January 2003 the service moved once more to larger premises ten minutes from the central city. This gave them the opportunity to develop the service even more and to this effect the name was changed to Eating Disorder Services (EDS).

EDS continued to offer services until December 2006, at which point the collective withdraw from their contract.